On November 6, 2023, representatives of the StAnD partnership met in Pino Torinese, Italy, for the Kickoff Meeting that officially marked the start of the project.

Held in the historical Turin Astronomical Observatory, the two-day long meeting covered all essential aspects of the Erasmus+ project funded by the Italian National Agency.

The 36-month programme brings asteroids, comets, meteors and micrometeorites to the classroom using carefully prepared activities and experiments, including the installation of meteor detection cameras in participating schools and a specially designed kit for micrometeorite hunting.

The partners involved have joined their expertise to design an integrated approach that will enable students to follow the journey of these cosmic visitors from the depths of space to our planet. StAnD will introduce a new trend of activities engaging students in their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) curriculum and enhancing their interest in these fields. The activities in the project also have the considerable potential of leading to new original scientific discoveries such as the discovery of new asteroids and meteorite falls.

Their teachers will receive training and support via massive open online courses and summer schools to prepare topics related to astronomy, the solar system, and space exploration. The teachers will make use of selected online resources to better present the contents to the students and will acquire innovative student-centred methodologies that facilitate the integration of digital content into the STEM curriculum. They will also receive training on how to use robotic telescopes and the relevant software to plan the observations and analyse the data, as well as how to operate and interpret the meteor images acquired by the camera systems. They will also learn how to collect and identify the micrometeorite samples.

The results of various phases of the project will be continuously disseminated, spreading the results among the participants, countries, at European and international level.

StAnD will be coordinated by the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF), Italy, with the active participation of COSPAR (France), NUCLIO (Portugal), Ellinogermaniki Agogi (Greece), and FTP-Europlanet (Germany).

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